Diesel Exhaust Fluid: Blue DEF Ultimate Guide + Date Code (2024)

Government vehicle regulations can be a pain. Every since 2011, diesel trucks and engines have been required to use Blue Def or a similar product to meet the emissions standards set in 2010. Blue Def does help your engine’s performance so the news is not all bad.
Does DEF have an expiration date? Like many products on the market today, Blue Def does have a limited shelf life. But its shelf life is determined by the ambient temperature it is stored at and not its ingredients. To have a 3 year shelf life, Blue Def must be stored at temperatures no higher than 50 degrees F.
A 27 degree increase in the ambient storage temperature cuts that shelf life in half. The warmer it gets the shorter Blue Def will last on the shelves. The ideal temperature range for maximum shelf life rests between 68 degrees F and 23 degrees F.
To learn more about DEF, its properties and date code, just continue to read this article. It goes in depth to make sure you have all the information yo need about DEF and Blue Def.
Diesel Exhaust Fluid 101
What is Blue DEFFluid?
Why Blue DEF?
When did Blue DEF Start?
Blue DEF Date Code
Valvoline DEF Date Code
Blue DEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid Shelf Life
When to Add Blue DEF?
How Much is Blue DEF?
How Much Blue DEF Does a Truck Use?
Can I use Blue DEF Instead of Adblue
Will Blue DEF Freeze
Some Final Words

What is Blue DEFFluid?

Diesel Exhaust Fluid: Blue DEF Ultimate Guide + Date Code (1)
This fluid is designed to help modern medium and heavy duty engine builders meet the emissions standards set by the 2010 EPA regulations. Diesel Exhaust fluid is a key ingredient in the Selective Catalytic Reduction process used by those engine makers.
In addition to that, Blue Def is a non-toxic solution that is mostly made up of purified water. 67 1/2% of the solution comes from purified water while the remaining 32 1/2% is from very pure automotive grade urea.
The purpose of Blue Def does is to turn NOx to a nitrogen gas and a water vapor. These elements are part of the air we breathe and are harmless to the body. The composition of Blue Def is stable, colorless and odorless.These components make Blue Def a very safe solution to use in your diesel engines.

Why Blue DEF?

Diesel Exhaust Fluid: Blue DEF Ultimate Guide + Date Code (2)
There are several good answers to this question. One is that Blue Def is safe for the environment. It helps protect the environment from harmful exhaust gases that are very destructive.
A second answer is that Blue Def is very safe to use. It is a stable solution that doesn’t have dangerous properties that would explode or do any other harmful act. Then a third reason is that Blue Def helps a truck’s diesel engine perform better and gives them higher fuel mileage as well as better power.
A final answer to this question is that Blue Def helps clean out DPF from the truck’s system which translates into lower fuel consumption. An honorable mention is that Blue Def does help trucks meet the EPA’s 2010 regulations without any real difficulty.
It seems to be the answer to the problem of diesel emissions issues. DEF is not a perfect product but its benefits seem to outweigh its downsides.

When did Blue DEF Start?

Exactly when Blu Def started may not be known. Engine makers knew of upcoming regulations and began working on the new Selective Catalytic Reduction process as early as 2007. The invention of Blue Def could have come at any time after that date.
One thing is for sure, the full implementation of Blue Def started about 2011 as the engine makers struggled to design a good system that met those 2010 EPA regulations

Blue DEF Date Code

Diesel Exhaust Fluid: Blue DEF Ultimate Guide + Date Code (3)
The Blue Def date code may be tricky to read. It is not outlined like a normal Month, Day, Year format but looks something like this: GA153590089. This code has to be broken down to get the exact date of manufacturing so you can tell if the Blue DEF is going to expire shortly. Here is that breakdown:
  • 1.GA = the plant that made the Blue Def
  • 2.15 = the year of manufacturing + 1 year. So the batch was made in 2014
  • 3.359 = number of days. So 365 - 359 = 6 The batch was made on the 6th day of the year or January 6th, 2014
  • 4.0089 = the batch code
Seems complicated but once you catch on, it is a simple system that is not hard to use to track the expiration of that particular Blue Def.

Valvoline DEF Date Code

Diesel Exhaust Fluid: Blue DEF Ultimate Guide + Date Code (4)
If the Valvoline Def bottles are anything like their oil cans, then you are going to have difficulty determining the manufacturing date and the shelf life of their Def product.
According to an official Valvoline response to an inquiry, Valvoline in general lets each production plant place their own date code sequence on the cans. They also do not publish a shelf life date which can make it difficult to determine how much time you have left to use their product.
But if Valvoline Def follows standard procedures, you may find a code that looks like F2818. This could translate into June 28, 2018 for a manufacture date but no one is sure because of the lack of information available
The reason the letter F translates in to June instead of February is that F is the 6th letter of the alphabet

Supertech DEF Expiration Date

Diesel Exhaust Fluid: Blue DEF Ultimate Guide + Date Code (5)
It is possible that this brand of Def has a date code that looks like this: 022817. These numbers translate into a date of February 28, 2017. If that is the case, then depending on their storage temperature, you have up to 3 years to use their products.
You would need to know the exact temperature of the storage facility to make an educated guess as to how long before the Def will expire. There is a code on their jugs, DS 5132 8352 but with no explanation. So it is hard to get a full determination about its manufacture and its expiration.

Blue DEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid Shelf Life

Given that different ambient temperatures affect the shelf life and shorten the expiration date, you need to know the storage temperature to get an idea how much longer the Blue Def can be used.
The shelf life chart- this will give you an idea of how long after manufacturing, the Blue Def will last:
  • 1.At 50 degrees F =/- gives you 36 months
  • 2.At 77 degrees F. +/- gives you 18 months
  • 3. At 88 degrees F gives you +/- 12 months
  • 4.At 95 degrees F +/- gives you 6 months
  • 5.At 104 degrees F +/- gives you 2 months
You will need to check the expiration codes and look at the calendar to figure out how long you have left to use the DEF solution. If the solution has been stored at high temperatures, then you will need to use the Blue Def as quickly as possible to get the full benefits from it.

When to Add Blue DEF?

There is no real specific time of year that you have to add Def to your engine. Def is a a very flexible and versatile solution that can work if frozen or thawed. Nor do you have to fill the Def tank up when you stop for fuel.
Def is consumed at an approx. Rate of 2 1/2 gallons every 800 miles or so. Some people calculate that consumption to be 1 gallon for every 300 miles. With a 20 gallon capacity, you can run 6,000 miles before refueling your Def tank.
The other problem you may face when refilling your Def tank is that it may not be available everywhere you go. Truck stops sell multiple brands of Def so that would be your best bet.
Or if you are not near or sure where a truck stop is, you should be able to find Def at your local auto parts store.

How Much is Blue DEF?

Like anything else, prices will vary and your cost will be influenced by who makes it, who sell it, what brand name is on the jug, and so on. Sam’s Club sells a 2 1/2 gallon jug for almost $12.
That should give you a good idea of how much Blue Def is in a box store. If you go to a truck stop and use their pumps, you may get it as low as $2.40 a gallon but prices may change and that number may be out of date by now.
Amazon has it around $12, as does Wal Mart although their price is about .50 cents less. Finding the right price that will fit your budget will take a little research on your part.
Blue Def is not a fuel so its pricing will not be affected by the oil companies arbitrary gas price changes that happen far too often

How Much Blue DEF Does a Truck Use?

A lot will depend on the condition of your exhaust system but on average, you can figure to use a gallon of Blue Def for approx. Every 300 miles you drive. The type of RV, or truck you own will play a small role in your Blue Def consumption and some trucks have been known to use about 2 1/2 gallons for every 800 miles they drive.
If you are doing a lot of city driving your Def consumption may go up considerably. One estimate has a truck running 14,000 city miles a year would use about 35 gallons of Def per year.
The rule of thumb is your DEF consumption should be about 3 to 5 % of your diesel fuel consumption. Make sure to adjust your refills according to the outside temperatures in the geographical areas you reside or travel. The higher the temperature, the less time you have to consume your Def supply.

Can I use Blue DEF Instead of Adblue

Diesel Exhaust Fluid: Blue DEF Ultimate Guide + Date Code (6)
The answer to this depends on who you talk to. The VW dealer may say you cannot make the switch as there are differences in the components. One consumer found this out the hard way and spent over $500 flushing out his VW adblue tank getting rid of the Blue Def and refilling with Adblue.
If you talk to other diesel truck and RV owners, they say that all DEF solutions are made the same and it makes no difference which brand you use. They say that Def is Def. If you use a different brand than Adblue, you may experience some engine light issues or have the Adblue system fail on you. But these may be isolated cases.
Your use will be determined by the chances you want to take.

Will Blue DEF Freeze

Basically all Def brands will freeze. The freezing point for Blue Def is about 12 degrees F. But, that is not as bad as news as it would be if you were running normal water in your radiator.
Your engine will still run fine if the blue def does freeze over. If you are lucky and the Def tank is near your engine, the hot temperatures will thaw the tank out quickly. If you are not, then you might want to get a Def tank heater to keep your Blue Def from freezing over.
The other thing you should be concerned about is if you run out of Blue Def as you are running down the road. There are regulations telling people to put a warning system in their vehicles to let them know when they are getting low on Def.
But like Def freezing, you are not going to damage your vehicle if you run out of the solution temporarily. You may lose horsepower, performance and a few minor things. Yet, your engine will start up and run like normal
Just treat your Def tank like you would your gas tank and you should always be fine.

Some Final Words

Blue Def and other brand Def solutions are here to help you. Not only does this solution help the environment, it also helps your fuel mileage and your vehicle’s performance.
Plus, it is a very safe product to use. You and your family are not in any danger when you drive a vehicle that has a Def tank installed. The only thing you have to worry about is keeping the tank full and finding a refilling station.
Diesel Exhaust Fluid: Blue DEF Ultimate Guide + Date Code (2024)


How do you read a BlueDEF date code? ›

How To Read Peak BlueDEF Expiration Date Code / Use Clean ...

How do I know if my DEF fluid is expired? ›

The easiest way to spot bad DEF is to look at it. The fluid is naturally clear so if it appears cloudy or colored, it's likely contaminated or old. Contaminates, including small particles or larger rocks or dirt will also be easy to see. If DEF has gone bad, do not attempt to use it.

Where is the expiration date on BlueDEF fluid? ›

Blue DEF Expiration Code Explained. - YouTube

What is the expiration date on DEF? ›

Even under good conditions, the shelf life of DEF is about 12 months, maybe a little longer if storage conditions are optimum. DEF stored at 86 degrees and above will last only six months or so, according to API.

What is the shelf life of BlueDEF fluid? ›

BlueDEF conforms to the ISO-22241-1 specification for DEF, is API registered and meets or exceeds OEM specifications. The shelf life of DEF is directly related to the temperature at which it is stored. Storage temperature between 12º and 86º F are recommended to maintain optimal shelf life of up to two years.

What is the difference between BlueDEF and BlueDEF platinum? ›

As far as what the fluid is used for, which is the actual DEF, there is no difference. The difference is in the proprietary ingredients that was put into Platinum that they say keeps the DEF from crystalizing in the exhaust over time.

How long will def fluid last? ›

The American Petroleum Institute recommends that you determine when DEF was put in the vehicle. The storage life of DEF is about 12 months in optimal conditions. If DEF has been stored in the vehicle over the past 12 months, it is recommended that it be drained and replaced.

How do you test DEF? ›

Diesel Exhaust Fluid Testing - YouTube

What is the best DEF fluid? ›

The best diesel exhaust fluid meets the Environmental Protection Agency's standards and is free from impurities. Valvoline's Premium Blue Diesel Exhaust Fluid is a top choice because it is compatible with all selective catalytic reduction systems and meets the EPA's near-zero nitrogen oxide emissions levels standard.

Who makes peak Blue def? ›

Such complex systems are bound to require repairs, but family-owned automotive aftermarket company Old World Industries, the manufacturer of leading brands such as BlueDEF® and PEAK®, is sharing several insights to ensure your diesel exhaust system runs smoothly to avoid insanely expensive repairs.

Is SuperTech DEF ISO 22241? ›

Yes, your DEF should meet the stringent ISO 22241 standard. So when you swing into Wally-World and peruse the automotive aisle, you'll soon find the SuperTech house-brand DEF next to the “gold standard” Blue-DEF.

Is DEF fluid the same? ›

IF a product does not adhere to the ISO 22241 standards, then that fluid cannot by definition be called a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). With a growing market there will be more and more unlicensed products to hit the streets calling their product DEF but it will simply be a urea solution.

How long does unopened DEF last? ›

The typical shelf life of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is usually 2 years. However, to help maximize your shelf life it's recommended to store it between 68°F and 23°F (20°C and -5°C).

What does Blue def? ›

BlueDEF® Diesel Exhaust Fluid is a mixture of high purity synthetic urea and deionized water that is used in Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems in diesel vehicles. DEF is used to help convert NOx to harmless nitrogen and water.

Can you add DEF while engine is running? ›

No, simply run the tank as empty as possible before refilling. Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is a pure chemical, so your bulk storage tank does not need to be cleaned out unless it is contaminated.

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